WLSB hires RichardsonWritten by Saige Albert
After Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) Senior Investigator Kim Clark retired late last year, the WLSB hired Ken Richardson of Alturas, Calif., a small town of about 2,000 people, to take the position.
“I grew up on a family cow/calf operation in the high desert in California,” Richardson says of his background. “Our cattle ranged in the California mountains in the summer and lower ground in the winter here.”
Richardson notes that the high deserts of Wyoming are similar to his home state, and the similarities are enjoyable.
In addition to his ranch background, he worked for many years with the brand department at the California Bureau of Livestock, and he’s achieved a combined 30 years of experience in the livestock division and in law enforcement. Most recently, he retired from Modoc County as undersheriff on Feb. 29.
“Overall, I have a pretty well-rounded career, but coming back to the industry I love is a great opportunity,” he says. “Working for the industry is going to be my biggest thrill coming to Wyoming.”
As the new leader for the division, Richardson notes that he’s excited for the position, and he looks forward to building relationships, both among the investigators and with the public.
“Wyoming is a big state, and getting all the investigators in one place doesn’t happen enough,” Richardson says. “We can call each other, but we get so busy that it’s hard to really keep in touch.”
Due to his proximity to both Oregon and Nevada while in California, Richardson says he is experienced and prepared to network with other states and work together.
Over his first year, Richardson hopes to work to gain the trust and support of both the WLSB staff and producers across Wyoming.
“I think there is room for the unit to grow,” he says. “People need to talk, visit and get to know each other. I come from a rural background that sees the value in building those relationships. One of our goals this year is building the trust with local law enforcement and local ranchers, as well as training those local sheriff’s offices.”
He also emphasized visibility of the WLSB’s law enforcement unit, saying that he will be driving marked law enforcement vehicles to increase the awareness within community that the WLSB law enforcement unit is active.
Among the work of the WLSB, Richardson says 14 to 15 percent of their work goes toward missing livestock, but the bulk of their work is in animal welfare cases.
“We’re the first line of defense for welfare calls,” he says. “We’re also there to assist the local law enforcement and county sheriffs. Right now, I think our relationships with county sheriffs are very positive.”
Richardson is based in Pinedale and will also serve as the Region Two investigator for the WLSB.